BBB Warns about Possible Pyramid Scheme
September 11, 2009
iJango alleges you can make money by multi-level marketing the Internet

A new money-making opportunity that claims to “multi-level market the Internet” could be nothing more than a pyramid scheme, warns the Better Business Bureau.

Since Aug. 1, more than 3,400 people nationwide have contacted the BBB to check out Austin-based iJango, a business being marketed heavily on Web sites, including YouTube and Twitter, through spam e-mail campaigns and at in-person sales presentations across the country. 

An investigation by the BBB shows that iJango, a self-described multi-level marketing company, aggressively seeks representatives for a product that has no track record. Consumers pay hundreds of dollars in upfront fees based on the claim that they can earn money by recruiting others to do the same — a sure sign of pyramid schemes. 

In the company's promotional materials, iJango is described as an interactive Web site "portal" for customers to access social media and interact with online merchants. iJango claims that its representatives can make money by inviting "friends, family and associates to use iJango … for FREE!" The business says the portal tracks individuals' Web traffic and e-commerce, thereby generating commissions payable to iJango based on Web page views and purchases made by the user. 

iJango says participants can pay an upfront fee of $50 to join the program, but recommends purchasing a package for $149.95 with a monthly maintenance fee of $19.95. The company further claims that consumers participating in the program will earn income by:
          • Recruiting individuals to purchase the opportunity and to become registered customers
          • Commissions generated by Web site traffic and purchases through iJango Web site portals.

The BBB has received complaints concerning the lack of ease in the use of the iJango portal, delayed availability of materials and alleged difficulty in canceling membership. The company has responded to some consumers by stating that they have issued, or will issue a refund. iJango has earned a BBB rating of F and its full BBB Reliability Report™ is available online. 

The BBB recommends consumers exercise extreme caution when evaluating any business opportunity and consider the following advice in order to make an informed decision:
          •Avoid any plan that places primary emphasis on commissions for recruiting additional distributors. It may be an illegal pyramid scheme.
          • Beware of plans that require purchase of expensive products and marketing materials upfront. These plans may be pyramid schemes in disguise.
          • Beware of plans that claim to sell miracle products or promise enormous earnings.
          • Don't pay or sign any contracts in an "opportunity meeting" or any other pressure-filled situation without first taking time to think over the decision. Talk it over with a family member, friend, accountant or lawyer.
          • Remember that no matter how good a product may be or how solid a multi-level marketing plan appears, an investment of time, as well as dollars, may be needed for your investment to pay off. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
         
Start With Trust. For more information on pyramid schemes and to check the reliability of any business, visit wynco.bbb.org or call 970-484-1348 or 800-564-0371 for reliable consumer tips and information.
 
About the BBB
The Better Business Bureau, founded in 1912, is a champion for ethics and trust in the marketplace. Only businesses that meet the high BBB standards are invited to become BBB Accredited Businesses. Today, 128 BBBs across the United States and Canada rate more than 3 million local and national businesses and charities with scores ranging from A to F. Only a BBB Accredited Business may elect to participate in BBBOnLine, one of the most trusted and recognized Internet seal programs in the world.   
 
The BBB serving northern Colorado and Wyoming is trending toward 1 million instances of service to consumers and businesses in 2009. These services include reliability reports on local companies and charities, access to companies that can be trusted by industry, help with dispute resolution, and trustworthy information on consumer and business topics.